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Brussels Sprouts

(post, Jessica Harrell)

I kept noticing Brussels sprouts at the grocery store. They lingered there enticingly, but I had no idea how to cook them. I could hear my mother's voice in the back of my head ticking off the list of vegetables or ways she refused to cook because it made the house smell bad. She doesn't fry, she doesn't cook her own turnip greens (even though she loves them as any good Southerner would), and she never, not once that I can remember, cooked Brussels sprouts. She also rarely cooked with garlic owing to her job as a dental hygienist and the fear of looking into people's mouths all day only to realize later she'd been breathing garlic breath at them. 

Now, I cook with garlic all the time and lots of it. And earlier this week I began adding Brussels sprouts to my vegetable checklist. My favorite weeknights meals (for I'm almost always only cooking for one) include pasta with veggies or a rice stir-fry. Adding the sprouts was an easy inclusion - I'm always looking for ways to mix it up, but the first time I cooked them was a bit of a lesson. 

I read that I should roast them, so I put some mushrooms, carrots, onions and sprouts in a small dish with some olive oil and roasted them for half an hour in the oven. They turned out fine, but I wasn't satisfied, so I kept looking and thinking. I ended up deciding to steam them, for only a minute or two and then add them at the last minute to my typical pasta dish.  

This worked much better for my tastes and for my one-person pasta bowl. 

Jessica's One Person Vegetable Pasta:

Prepare one serving of pasta
Sweat onion and garlic in olive oil on low-medium
Add the harder vegetables (i.e. carrots broccoli) so they have a little more time to saute
Cook these until they are almost like you like them
Add softer vegetable choices like mushrooms or zucchini 
Steam Brussels sprouts for only a minute or two
Meanwhile add spinach (I like to add spinach at the very end so that it just begins to wilt)
Add steamed sprouts
Add 2-3 tsp of basil (fresh or frozen) as well as a dash of balsamic vinegar
Add 1/2 cup of marinara or other red spaghetti sauce
Add pasta and toss in pan
Serve in a bowl and enjoy with a glass of red wine